Letter from Elginfield.

ELGINFIELD, April 23, 1881.

To the Editor of the Irish Canadian.

SIR - In your last issue I notice a communication signed "Veritas," in reply to mine of the 28th ult., wherein he endeavours to make it appear that I am guilty of a species of double-dealing in the matter. I beg leave to say that it is not my intention to enter into a newspaper discussion with "Veritas" on this subject; but, with your permission I wish to make a few remarks upon the main charge which he brings against me.

[...] In making use of the words "faction" it was done merely to avoid tautology; it was not intended, as my friend "Veritas" would insinuate, to convey the idea that there were an importation in our midst of "Terryalts, " "Cummins and Daraghs," "Corcorans and Feehans," "Black Feet" and "White Feet," "Orange and Green," &c. Not the slightest wish had I of conveying any such idea; but will "Veritas" attempt to deny that there was not two contending parties in our midst - one advocating respect for the law of the land, and the other violating it in various ways?

Allow me to ask "Veritas" for what purpose were the Vigilance Committee established? - for what purpose were they harassed to death night after night watching the premises of peaceable citizens? Was it against the thunders of Jove, against the dispensations of a Divine Providence, or against a lawless faction composed of different sects and creeds? Echo reverberates the last clause from one end to the other of the Settlement - "against a lawless faction ." I submit that this explanation with another passage in "Veritas'" letter further on, wherein he says: "Meanwhile I beg to state that on the first day of February, 1880, the Biddulph gang of thieves, incendiaries, murderers, &c., were twenty-five in number, besides their aiders, abettors and friends, who had their head quarters on the Roman Line, with depots at Lucan and Clandeboye" - I say I submit that this admission by "Veritas" fully sustains my position, that there were two contending parties and that no malice was intended in chronicling the fact, although "Veritas" stamps it as a "malicious lie." On this head I leave your readers to judge between us.

But why does "Veritas" take up his position behind Sectarian issues? For the life of me I cannot see, except it be to enlist your sympathies on behalf of a people whose cause you have always nobly advocated. But in the present case I fail to see any necessity for such a procedure. I am certain I did not make the slightest allusion to any party, either national, political or sectarian; for, as above remarked, the contending parties in one gang, if reports be true, were composed of all three - i.e. nationalities, politics and creeds. And as this fact was generally known in our community, it might certainly appear malicious had I made reference to my Catholic friends, knowing that such an impression respecting the make-up of the gang was afloat.

While on this subject allow me to make a few remarks which may have a tendency to make "Veritas" take a more liberal view of affairs. It has become a matter of history that certain members of our community have passed through a severe ordeal by incarceration in a prison upon a charge of which the law has said they were not guilty. The fact has also become patent that in order to meet a portion of the enormous cost of their defence an appeal was made to the surrounding municipalities asking for aid to help to liquidate the debt. Let me ask "Veritas," did the question of Sectarianism ever enter the mind of any-one contributing to that fund? Did it enter the minds of all shades of Protestant denominations who extended their heartfelt sympathy to the men in their long confinement and during the terrible ordeal of their trial? I say not. I say further, when this substantial test came, out of a population of over 1000 souls in Lucan, only about one-tenth of whom are Catholics, the parties soliciting aid only met with two refusals - and I am creditably informed that one of those was a Catholic man. What then can be the object of "Veritas" in harping upon this Sectarian theme? Can he name a single instance in the history of Biddulph that this question ever disturbed the peace and harmony existing between Catholic and Protestant in the community? With all our faults, and we have our share, I am safe in asserting, that the cry of Sectarianism has never yet disturbed the peaceful relations of man to man, let their creed be what it may. Why then harp upon the Catholics of Biddulph without a shadow of cause?

[...] And now, my dear sir, as "Veritas" feel jealous of my assuming his former nom-de-plume of "Zulu," I will close this rather lengthy epistle by subscribing myself yours truly,


Source: Unknown, "Letter from Elginfield," Irish Canadian, April 28, 1881.

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